Thursday, October 13, 2011

Random Tech Bits

Lots of interesting technology news this week, but unfortunately, some of it is sad.

For starters, Steve Jobs passed away along with Dennis Ritchie (the creator of the C programming language). I don't know where I would be today without either one's contributions to technology, especially since I first learned how to program on an Apple II computer and eventually learned C and C++ in order to build a substantial 3-D game engine project. I spent countless hours tinkering with BASIC, 6502 assembly language and even Pascal. On the Apple IIc alone I built a fully functional word processor, a basic painting program, worked on building my own operating system, built a 3-D drawing program (circa 1989), and even started building my own programming language. I even tried to launch my own software company with a friend in high school, but eventually gave that up. By the way, if you are into 6502 programming, here's a fun site.

In other news, this product looked particularly intriguing. It seems as if 3-D printers are taking some more substantial strides forward, and I think letting kids get their handle on them could result in some truly amazing creations. If done right and if the price is kept affordable ($800 is a little out of reach for most kids right now), this product could be as big as Lego bricks. The one drawback I'm seeing right now is the price of replacement plastic powder (used for printing models), but I'm wondering if it would be possible to use something like recycled plastic.

Additionally, the Origo article also mentions another website that might be used in conjunction with the printer. That can be seen here.

More 3-D news...this time in the form of the "Personal 3-D viewer" device from Sony. See the Ars Technica article for more details. For some reason, the video in the article makes me think of the old Maxell commercial with the guy in the chair. Maybe Sony should make a similar sort of retro/future ad.

In the world of writing, Amazon is making some significant inroads into Europe, as explained in some articles here, here, and here. This is great news for those interested in overseas markets, and especially if you are producing e-books and can access some translation help.

And, from the life-imitating-fiction department comes word that a mall in Australia is planning on installing technology that will track shoppers via their cell phones. I discussed a similar idea in my book, Theft at the Speed of Light, although in that case it involved using tracking bracelets that doubled as a credit payment device.

On a non-technical note, you might want to check out Victor Travison's ongoing series about the Wizard of Oz. Here are parts one and two, and more are on the way.

Have a good weekend!

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